BA History and French

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Media, Performance, And Digital Cultures in Contemporary France

Course unit fact file
Unit code FREN21212
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by French Studies
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This unit examines how contemporary French artists, playwrights and authors have experimented with various media (radio, tape recorders, films, the Internet and YouTube) and platforms (festivals, museums, conferences, happenings), to invent new and sometimes destabilizing and daring art forms, art objects and creative practices. For instance, we will study how texts incorporate filmic or pictorial fragments. We will see how digital platforms invite artists and authors to reconsider the nature of writing. More importantly, we will ask ourselves how we respond to new forms of artistic expressions. Introductory lectures and seminars will examine key concepts such as ‘media’, ‘digital practice’, ‘artistic consumption’ and ‘performance’.  In the course of the semester, we will watch and analyze short video clips, theatrical performances and digital art. 


To familiarise students: 

  • to familiarise students with key developments in French culture from a formal, social and political perspective. 

  • to introduce students to the study of Media in order to enable the analysis of literary, visual and audio-visual artwork from modernity to the present day. 

  • to provide an overview of the different issues of cultural representation;  

  • to encourage and enable students to verbalise and intellectualise their emotional response to a wide range of practices. 

Knowledge and understanding

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of some of the major aspects of Contemporary related to media 

  • Understanding digital culture in France today 

  • Understanding the differences between genres and medias 

Intellectual skills

  • Contextualise, analyze and discuss literary, visual and audio-visual material in a structured fashion 

  •  apply critically terminology and conceptual frameworks derived from media studies. 

Practical skills

  • Demonstrate the ability to carry out individual research for coursework essays, and express ideas and arguments coherently and convincingly in time-limited constraints 

  • using an appropriate level of academic writing and exemplification. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Demonstrate powers of analysis;  

  • manage word-count effectively when writing coursework; 

  •  manage time effectively when writing in exam conditions; participate in seminars;  

  • work as part of a group;  

  • assess the relevance of existing literature through independent research;  

  • seek advice and feedback and develop confidence. 

Employability skills

Time management Responding to instructions Independent research; initiative Intercultural awareness Coherent expression (orally and in writing)

Assessment methods

Assessment task  

Formative or Summative 


Weighting within unit (if summative) 









Essay plan (prep for essay) 








Feedback methods

Feedback method  

Formative or Summative 

Individual written feedback on formative tasks 


Individual written feedback on ACW and exam 


Recommended reading

A selection of short texts 

One play by either Jan Fabre or Romeo Castellucci 

A selection of digital art pieces  

Secondary Readings: 


Debray, Régis, Cours de médiologie générale (Paris : Gallimard, 1991). 

Grafton, Anthony La Page de l’Antiquité à l’ère Numérique (Paris : Hazan, 2015). 

Jean-Jacques Lebel, Poésie directe des Happenings à Polyphonix. Entretiens avec Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux et quelques documents (Paris Opus International, 1994)  

Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin, Remediation: Understanding the New Media (London, MIT Press, 2000) 

Lionel Ruffel and Olivia Rosenthal (eds), La littérature exposée. Les écritures contemporaines hors du livre, in Littérature, 2010, 4 (160). 

Lionel Ruffel and Olivia Rosenthal (eds), La littérature exposée 2, La littérature exposée 2, in Littérature, 2018, 4 (192). 

Hans-Thies Lehmann, Le théâtre postdramatique (Paris : L’Arche, 2002 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 167

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jeff Barda Unit coordinator

Return to course details